OpSec Security Inc., a company that focuses on anti-counterfeiting and brand protection, has released a study that identifies the impact of internet trading platforms and social media web forums on the market launch and distribution of consumer electronics products.

The study focused on Kindle ereaders and the market launch of Amazon’s DX model introduced on June 2009.

Findings from the study concluded:

  • On launch day, Kindle DXs were already available for purchase on a major B2B trade board from a company located in China
  • One seller offered 2,500 Kindle 2 ereaders per week at a unit price of $65, well below the list price of $299
  • Of 33 B2B listings offering Kindles when the DX launched, 75% of the sellers were located in Indonesia and China
  • A sample of eight seller listings on a popular trade board had an estimated 40,000 Kindles available within a few weeks after the DX launch
  • Suspect Kindle knockoffs were found for sale on trade boards and auctions in colours and languages not sold by Amazon
  • Consumers used social media forums to share tips on circumventing Amazon’s US only shipping restrictions, including the use of package forwarding companies, and
  • From June through September 2009, an almost three-fold increase of Kindles (1, 2, and DX models) was offered on eBay auctions, with many sellers offering to ship outside the US.

By monitoring popular B2C auctions, B2B trade boards, blogs and forums, the company indicates significant intelligence is gained about the emergence of grey and counterfeit markets surrounding the introduction of a product into the global marketplace.

“These findings give impetus to the need to monitor ecommerce platforms to identify black and grey market goods entering the supply chain. Combining market intelligence from ecommerce platforms and social media enables companies to more quickly and effectively respond to emerging threats of counterfeit and grey market goods in the global supply chain,” explained OpSec Security Inc. through a media release.